Links 8/5/2020

3 Stranded Mariners Rescued After Spelling Out ‘SOS’ in Sand of Tiny, Uninhabited Island People

Much Of Maine’s Lobster Fishery Loses International ‘Sustainably Fished’ Designation Maine Public Radio (DL).

As forests disappear in India, leopards have learnt to live and prey among human habitats (J-LS).

FBI Raids U.S. Company With Ties to Ukrainian Oligarch Bloomberg

What Years of Emails and Texts Reveal About Your Friendly Tech Companies NYT


Too Good to Be True? Osaka Says Gargling Formula Can Beat Virus – Bloomberg Bloomberg. n=41 mildly symptomatic patients. “The finding isn’t based on data from a large, randomized, controlled trial — the gold standard for assessing the safety and efficacy of any potential therapy.” But see Tricia Greenhalgh here: “In a complex system, the question driving scientific inquiry is not ‘what is the effect size and is it statistically significant once other variables have been controlled for?’ but ‘does this intervention contribute, along with other factors, to a desirable outcome?'”

Povidone‐iodine gargle as a prophylactic intervention to interrupt the transmission of SARS‐CoV‐2 Oral Diseases

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Evidence favouring the efficacy of convalescent plasma for COVID-19 therapy (preprint) medRxiv. From the abstract: “Fixed-effects analyses demonstrated that hospitalized COVID-19 patients transfused with convalescent plasma exhibited a 57% reduction in mortality rate (13%) compared to matched-patients receiving standard treatments (25%; OR: 0.43, P < 0.001). These data provide evidence favouring the efficacy of human convalescent plasma as a therapeutic agent in hospitalized COVID-19 patients.” Mayo Clinic affiliations.

By boat and on foot, Indian state hunts for plasma for COVID patients Reuters

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These dogs are trained to sniff out the coronavirus. Most have a 100% success rate The Conversation. Put sniffer dogs at the jetways for international flights, and I don’t see why we shouldn’t our passports back.

K9s against coronavirus: The UAE implements sniffer dogs to detect COVID-19 The Points Guy. NC was early on medical detection dogs, too.

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Clinical Trials Over, New Russian Vaccine to Be Given to Doctors and Teachers Soon, Population by October, for Free, Murashko Says Window on Eurasia

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Masks Do More Than Protect Others During COVID-19: Reducing the Inoculum of SARS-CoV-2 to Protect the Wearer Journal of General Internal Medicine

Maskne: How to Take Care of Your Skin While Wearing a Face Mask Teen Vogue

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Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in Australian educational settings: a prospective cohort study The Lancet. From the Findings: “SARS-CoV-2 transmission rates were low in NSW educational settings during the first COVID-19 epidemic wave, consistent with mild infrequent disease in the 1·8 million child population. With effective case-contact testing and epidemic management strategies and associated small numbers of attendances while infected, children and teachers did not contribute significantly to COVID-19 transmission via attendance in educational settings.”

Contact tracing during Phase I of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Province of Trento, Italy: key findings and recommendations (preprint) medRxiv. From the abstract: “Although childhood contacts were less likely to become cases, children were more likely to infect household members, perhaps because of the difficulty of successfully isolang children in household settings.”

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Yes, the Coronavirus Is in the Air NYT. Good round-up.

Houston Officials Are Using Sewage To Help Fight Coronavirus. Here’s Why Texas Standard

Covid-19 vaccine trials worry US minority communities FT

More lifesaving ventilators are available. Hospitals can’t afford them. WaPo


Jiang Shigong, “Empire and World Order” Reading the China Dream

The China Footprint Macro Polo

Situating the Hong Kong left Lausan

Core Parts of China’s Beidou Satellite System ‘100% Made in China’ Caixin

‘A serious problem’: Asymptomatic cases may place Indonesia at 1m infections Sydney Morning Herald

Indonesia Economy Shrinks for First Time Since Asian Crisis Bloomberg


Delhi, Mumbai & Chennai infection rates dip below 1, India’s overall R value now at 1.16 The Print. Fingers crossed.

The Koreas

‘We Need to Move From a Wartime Mentality to a Peacetime Mentality’ The Nation


Beirut Blast Wrap-up Moon of Alabama. With before and after pictures. I believe the explosion also damaged nearby grain elevators in the port of Beirut, so there may be food supply chain issues as well. Blast video compilation:

Ammonium nitrate: the everyday fertiliser behind the Beirut blast The National

Pandemic revives Gulf fears over food security FT


Why the UK tax authority is accusing General Electric of a $1bn fraud FT

US ‘cloud’ supremacy has Europe worried about data Agence France Presse

The downfall of Spain’s Juan Carlos I El Pais


VIPS MEMO: To Nancy Pelosi — Did Russia Hack the DNC Emails? Consortium News

How QAnon Creates a Dangerous Alternate Reality NYT

Are Conspiracy Theories Good For Facebook? NPR

Trump Transition

White House eyes executive orders to upend virus negotiations Politico

6 states band together to secure rapid COVID testing The Hill. Virginia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio and Maryland.


Assange Legal Farce Continues Craig Murray

The Protests

How white radicals hijacked Portland’s protests Michael Tracey, Unherd

Didn’t see this tactic in Hong Kong:

Shouldn’t there be a message on the table-tops?

Leaked Documents Show Police Knew Far-Right Extremists Were the Real Threat at Protests, not “Antifa” The Intercept

Homeland Security Is Quietly Tying Antifa to Foreign Powers The Nation

Police Violence Was a Problem in Portland Long Before Federal Agents Arrived The Appeal

Portland Protesters No Longer Being Banned From Attending Protests to Win Release From Jail Pro Publica

Husband of LA district attorney charged after pointing gun at Black Lives Matter protesters Guardian

Failed State

Is A New Civil War Possible? Rod Dreher, The American Conservative

Imperial Collapse Watch

America’s Superdense Foreign Policy Black Hole Tablet

Okinawa virus outbreaks ignite scrutiny of U.S. SOFA privileges Japan Times

Joint US military drills get thumbs down from Thais amid coronavirus fears Straits Times

Nearly half of Germans in favor of US military withdrawal: survey Deutsche Welle

Class Warfare

An Interview with the New York Music Co-op Grassroots Economic Organizing

A Trailer in the Country: Working-Class Attitudes about Redistribution American Compass

When Will Consumers Feel Safe? Weekly Updates on Consumers’ Comfort Level With Various Pastimes Morning Consult

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Kevin C. Smith

    You’d better be very careful about gargling povidone-iodine [Betadine, et al]: you can get significant systemic uptake of the iodine, causing suppression of your thyroid.

    1. Dan

      For many years I have used gargling a very diluted hydrogen peroxide and water solution to stop colds. Even if I do pick up a head cold it does seem to stop them from migrating to my chest. I have no clinical proof, but it’s worked well enough for me to keep doing it.

      1. Chas

        I’ve been doing the same thing for several years. At the very first sign of a sore throat I mix a solution of 50-50 warm water and hydrogen peroxide. I’ve killed many a cold that way and I think it stopped a case of covid from starting last Spring. I also use a netty pot with a warm saline solution when I want to be extra cautious.

  2. Amfortas the hippie

    Local News.
    I’ll betcha a beer that this sort of thing is happening all over the country.

    My son started his part timer(!) at the local newspaper, today.(aside from dropping off stacks of newsprint in the stores once a week, he’s to be rather isolated, in an office where everybody takes it seriously, after the editor caught it in late march(still can’t taste or smell))

    editor,a long time friend, let slip that local governments have been withholding case counts by a sort of passive/aggressive method….they let bureaucracy shield them:=>case info from city-county=>state=>cdc=> local people find out about it some time later, online>>deflecting blame and delaying out burst. These shenanigans are because the local gov entities don’t want current cases to get over 20, lest the dreaded commie mask mandate go into effect. While about half of these representatives of res publica are, themselves, right wing pseudochristofascists(immigrants from orange county, cali), they understand what their fellow travelers among the constituency will do. And they DON’t want to deal with it.
    Editor says he dedicated his weekly column to this….outing them…and ripping them a new one over such a blatant display of skulduggery.
    He says he expects the town and county to explode, after the paper goes out, today.

    And speaking of the Count…turns out that if county residents get tested in the next county over, that’s where their test is logged, further confusing the threat assessment.
    Many poz people(lol. Karma, etc) around here are apparently attempting to hide their positive results….which doesn’t work for long, given the robust rumor mill/jungle drum network.
    No one from here has died from covid that I am aware of.

    So lots of local drama is fixing to unfold, which will be interesting to observe.
    Especially in socio-historical contexts: Hoodoo War floats just under the surface of the Hive Memory
    ( ), for instance…which is where the collective habit of averting one’s eyes to avoid seeing actions which, in themselves are mundane, but arguing about would cause social strife.
    People are averse to such strife…and scandals get hashed out by gossip, not on the Square.
    It’s a lay anthropologists dream, although I expect to be drawn into it.

    1. fresno dan

      Amfortas the hippie
      August 5, 2020 at 7:31 am
      In Fresno, I’m a fear that the local newspaper is on its last legs. When the local papers disappear, where will the muckraking of actual events that have occurred come from?

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        yeah. GenX scion of Texas Oil courtier class bought ours and all the surrounding little papers back in ’99…all of them were already succumbing to their financial difficulties at the time.
        He’s a decent enough fellow(went to his wedding).
        Gives the editors free rein.
        Unless it’s something that cannot be ethically ignored, these papers are closer to brochures from the chambers of commerce.
        “what a quaint little town” get the idea.
        Mayberry with a hefty dash of Green Acres, and a lingering shadow of that town in High Plains Drifter. The paper leaves that last part out,lol.

      2. Wukchumni

        I was helping a friend move last month and he gets the dead tree Fresno Bee, and it contained all of 8 pages.

        Lets be honest, the Thrifty Nickel has more content…

        1. fresno dan

          August 5, 2020 at 10:31 am

          Yeah, I occasionally buy the Bee on Sunday, but even the Sunday Bee, the commercials outnumber the news pages 10 to 1 or 15 to one? And really the only important thing is checking the obituaries to make sure I’m not dead…

          1. ambrit

            You have to pay for obituaries now. So, if you do see yourself in that number, go down to the paper office and find out who paid for the listing. Next, track that person down and…..

      3. polecat

        Fresno Bee lost its Sting?

        Had it become IdPolmania ..loosing its media mind, like its northern state cousin?

    2. Skip Intro

      Santa Clara County CA had one of the first outbreaks in the US, but took strong measures early, and got things ‘under control’. They post good data on their website, or so they thought. Recently the following appeared in red at the top of the page, and their error bars expanded from a few days to weeks:

      Due to a significant and unresolved problem with the State of California’s CalREDIE reporting system, the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department, as well as county public health departments statewide, are experiencing significant underreporting of COVID-19 testing results. Because of this problem, the information presented in this dashboard/these dashboards since mid-July 2020 is incomplete. We will provide updates on the status of these reporting delays as soon as they are available. Additional information about these delays may be available from the State of California.

        1. ambrit

          I’d lay money on the Siliconaires having some sort of sub-rosa case reporting network. Check around the usual gaming gathering sites and ‘subtly’ ask.

      1. Jack Parsons

        Here in California, the public health commissioners are independent and have the power to shut everything down. They conferred in mid-March and then told the mayors and city councils what would happen. I do not know how long they have had this level of power, it is probably a hangover from Spanish Flu days.

        Other states, not so fortunate.

  3. zagonostra

    >Consortium News/VIP

    WMD in Iraq was not “mistaken;” it was fraudulent from the get-go but that’s ok because Michelle Obama and Bush the Junior held hands and exchanged candy. Most Americans remain unaware that the accusation that Russia “hacked” the DNC has evaporated but that’s ok because Trump is bad and anything done, fabricated or not, is by definition good.

    I can only agree with Yves “in Washington going full Andrew Mellon” when she states the following about our political elites including the media that abets them: They are too small minded …They are simply clientelists, captured by elite factions that lack the imagination to see that the US is approaching a corruption end state, and that having America continue to decline will result in an acceleration of our post-Soviet style plutocratic land grab.

    But I would go further, they are evil, whether it’s banal bureaucratic variety evil or the malevolent strain, they are fit for Dante’s 9th circle.

    1. km

      I believe that the folks here at NC have commented on this in recent days:

      This reminds me of the Soviet Union in 1990. That was a time when everyone in the USSR knew that the current system was still dangerous but collapsing. Still, by that point nobody paid more than lip service to the ideas underlying the system. Meanwhile, grift and fraud were abounding, and those in the know were hard at work, stealing everything that not nailed down while there were still things out there that could be stolen.

      For a while there in the dying days of the Soviet Union, entrepreneurial minded grifters were stealing abandoned Aeroflot airliners and setting up their own airlines. Sounds legit.

      In the link I provided, a few days ago, Kodak – which is a public company with less than $100 million in market cap, basically a glorified pension fund with a famous brand name – is set to receive $765 million in non-recourse, unsecured “loans” from the International Development Finance Corporation (owned by the US government) to create a “pharmaceutical start-up” that over a period of eight years will start making “pharmaceutical supplies”. Whatever that means.

      Of course, Kodak has zero expertise or experience in pharmaceutical supply production. The DFC was established by the Trump administration in 2019 to replace the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. As the link details, the Kodak executive team have strong ties to the Trump Administration. Naturally, the stock price of Kodak soared. Needless to say, the Kodak executive team are largely paid in stock and options, and they recently got big grants in the previous sixty days. That also means that they got paid up front, as much as $400,000,000 between them. Not bad for work that they personally will never have to deliver on.

      1. rowlf

        Hey now. Just because something looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, that doesn’t mean it’s not very patriotic US activities. So what if some other large multi-ethnic country had very elderly leaders who didn’t look out for the populace’s interests. That doesn’t mean that the US will dissipate in the the same manner.


        (P.S. A family member was a Prof of Soviets Studies from 1975 to 2010, so I see a lot of historical rhymes)

        1. Procopius

          Russia looks like having a vaccine in October, or maybe November. TASS announced they’re going to start public vaccination in November. I’m pretty sure China is nearly as advanced. I would laugh and laugh if they put their vaccines in the public domain and undercut the $3,500 a dose Big Pharma is aiming for in the U.S.

  4. fresno dan

    So I saw the movie Richard Jewel by Clint Eastwood last night. I still get the DVD’s from Netflix, so the slow down with the post office is really messing with my movie viewing. (no streaming for me – I see no reason to watch movies on a small computer screen instead of a big TV screen)
    First, it is a movie and not a documentary – here there be agendas. Second, spoilers may follow. Third, I think this is a good movie.
    What I got out of the movie was the masterful juxtaposition of the ambitious, well coiffed, and professional (media and FBI) and the less ambitious, not so self assured, and fat (security guard). The simple, but infuriating naivete and faith in the FBI of Jewell did make me want to jump through the screen and shake him and yell, “these people’s main concern is not your guilt or innocence – their agenda is their own success!” And of course, the analogy with Michael Flynn is inescapable.
    When Jewell’s lawyer asks Jewell why he picked him, Jewell says it was because he was the only one who didn’t call him blimpo, or Pillsbury dough boy, etcetera and treated him like a human being. Of course that is gilding the lily, but in my view you can’t over emphasize that how you look determines how you are judged (and investigated)….
    Finally, the scene where Jewell yells at his mother and than apologizes – I don’t think I have seen something so touching since the scene in The Elephant Man where the elephant man describes how his monther must have been disappointed in him.

      1. newcatty

        Agree, great movie. It is not only how you are judged ( investigated) by our judicial, law enforcement and media that is of concern for people in this country. The shaming and passive aggressive contempt for any person who is seen as what the greater media and society states as being “fat”, over weight, pudgy, etc. Is one of the most insidious forms of blatant prejudice and ostracism of people. It is conflated with the fact that people are not being “smart” and responsible for their own health and welfare. This goes hand-in-hand with comments like the out of shape people one might see on a walk or hiking trails.

        There are actually lots of reasons people can be over weight. It can be physical. There is the reality of crapified food at the stores and fast food. Yes, If the folks would work (who have jobs) and just cook a pot of beans ad brown rice to eat all week…problem solved. This is also discrimination against disabled or older people. The 50 something year old who can run, hike or kayak is compared to those who can not in a snide way.

        Of course, if our American ideal of beauty and attractiveness was not portrayed on the big screen the small one as a slim and pretty woman, and somewhat less for men, then the obsession with body fat would not be so prevalent. Bulimia and anerexia are a tragic result of this fact. More women are admired for their talent , intelligence and skills ,but it’s still beauty is skin deep on the whole.

    1. BlakeFelix

      If you get a chrome cast or something like that you can probably stream to the TV. Personally I use a led digital projector as my monitor, but it takes a dark room for that.

  5. urblintz

    This may be way out there but…I sure hope the virus present in sewage is killed before it’s turned into the “reclaimed water” which is routinely aerosolized through lawn sprinkling systems throughout the country. As I understand it, reclaimed water is mostly cleansed and filtered, but the restriction against its potability exist due to remaining presence of fecal matter. Does anyone here at NC have knowledge about this?

    1. John Wright

      I toured the local sewage processing plant some years ago (Northern California) and was shown the Ultra Violet light final cleaning stage that was used before the re-claimed water left the facility (for spraying on local fields).

      As I remember, the UV lights were powered from captured methane from the sewage, avoiding an additional electrical energy cost, so UV cleaning may not come at a high additional cost.

      Here is a link to a discussion of the process:

      From this link, there is the possibility of not all material being killed.

    2. pasha

      my understanding is that they are detecting strands of covid-19 r.n.a. these strands are loosed when the lipid shell of the virus dissolves. without the shell and its spikes, there is no mechanism for those strands to infect and replicate. nc linked an article on sewage testing in the netherlands, some months ago

  6. John A

    Re The downfall of Spain’s Juan Carlos I

    He is a Bourbon, and as Talleyrand said over 200 years ago, that family had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.
    No change there then, it would appear.

    1. Olga

      One has to wonder – has senility set in? Eighty-two years, and he’s still trying to grab as much money as he can. Or is it just old habits die hard? (And why does Spain even need a bloody monarchy?)

  7. Plague Species

    This is laughable, all things considered.

    FBI Raids U.S. Company With Ties to Ukrainian Oligarch

    Small potatoes. When will Inspector Lewis Erskine’s FBI invade Trump’s company for its ties to every dirty bird out there? Afterall, Donald Trump is the Money Launderer In Chief and that’s not hyperbole.

      1. Olga

        Yes, PS is wrong about this being small potatoes. In fact, it is quite astonishing. Kolomoiski is supposed to be the power behind Zelensky (and Poroshenko before him (switching sides is a sport over there – just ask Peter the Great!)).
        This looks more like DT’s revenge – pretty daring, considering that the blob really wants to keep Ukr together (as Rev Kev says, until it gets completely looted and strategically used up).

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Did the FBI CHOOSE to not investigate white collar criminals, or did the ruling class inSTRUCT the FBI to not investigate white collar criminals?

        1. ambrit

          Close coupled systems do not need overt commands to instigate policies. People do or do not do often based on their perceived notions of what the top echelons would want.

    1. The Rev Kev

      To put a twist on this article, the Ukrainian oligarch is Ihor Kolomoyskyi who is basically a thug billionaire. Or do I repeat myself? Anyway, the article says ‘Optima was part of an international scheme in which billions of dollars were siphoned from a Ukrainian bank by Kolomoisky to buy U.S. real estate, according to a civil lawsuit filed last year in Delaware.’ This is a bit of cheek this.

      After the 2014 Putsch, the US and it minions were pumping in tens of billions of dollars into the Ukraine to hold the country together long enough so that it could be looted. And a lot of this money I remember ended up in Private bank. You can guess which Ukrainian oligarch owned that bank back then. So this is really money that was stolen from America being used to buy up real estate in America. As I said, cheeky.

      1. km

        Rumors of US money laundering and asset stripping have swirled around Kolomoiskii for some time.

        I.V. Kolomoiskii is a particularly nasty piece of work, even by the standards of Ukrainian oligarchs. Among other things, he financed certain of the neoNazi paramilitaries that were used to terrorize Donbass. Kolomoiskii also, irony of ironies, used to sport a t-shirt emblazoned with a menorah in the red and black colors favored by the neoNazis. (Kolomoiskii is Jewish, FWIW.)

        To be fair, I doubt that Kolomoiskii has any real ideology except Kolomoskii. In fact, in a tapped phone call with an underling, he commented that many of the Nazis that he finances didn’t necessarily like Jews all that much. However, that was the way the wind in Ukraine was blowing, so Kolomoiskii went with it.

        Kolomoiskii owns, among other things, the TV network on which the current puppet president of Ukraine, Zelenskii, got his start, and the general consensus there is that Zelenskii is controlled by Kolomoiskii. Certainly, Zelenskii has done little to antagonize his former boss.

        Again, to be fair, even if Zelenskii wanted to end the war in Donbass (which is what he was elected to do) – his American owners would never allow him to do so, and he would face a variety of nasty consequences if he tried.

      2. JTMcPhee

        I guess our nominally US banks and PE Geniuses are equally cheeky, getting trillions to fund the theft by mortgage of US land?

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          By all means, let’s talk about The Orange One and The Ukraine. It’s about time we rooted out the corruption there. But please let’s not mention:

          Maidan and who paid the snipers there (A: you and I did);
          John Kerry;
          Nancy Pelosi’s son;
          The Biden’s televised threat to withhold $1B unless they stopped poking around his guys there;
          The prima facie evidence against The Biden released by the Ukrainian gov’t;

    2. km

      “Afterall, Donald Trump is the Money Launderer In Chief and that’s not hyperbole.”

      Evidence, please. What do you claim to know that Mueller did not and what is your basis for doing so?

      For the record, I detest Trump. But that doesn’t mean that I believe the man is Mickey Mouse or something.

      1. Plague Species

        Global Witness has an excellent exposé cleverly entitled Narco-a-Lago: Money Laundering at the Trump Ocean Club, Panama. That’s just a start. Scottish authorities are embarking on an investigation into Trump’s golf clubs to determine the source of the funds he used to purchase and/or build the properties to the tune of $400 million in cash (meaning no loans).

        1. hunkerdown

          You know Soros was at the meeting where Russiagate was confabulated, right? And that no organization that takes money from him can be trusted not to follow his line, right? And that all Western investors in Ukraine and Russia should be assumed to be every bit as psychopathic as Bill Browder, who by right ought to be but isn’t in a Federal PMITA prison?

          Nobody outside the PMC and their elites want the “liberal” (capitalist) world order. It’s time to put childish memes like authority and individualism to bed.

        2. km

          Provide links, please. That sounds like pretty thin evidence. A lot of “coulda” and “maybe”.

        3. drumlin woodchuckles

          Given the billions of dollars laundered each year, I wonder what per cent of it the Trumpster has ever gotten to launder?

        4. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

          They better be careful. Clearly most of the TDS afflicted have no clue about the origins of Mar a Lago or just how deep the Deep State goes.

  8. timbers

    VIPS MEMO: To Nancy Pelosi — Did Russia Hack the DNC Emails? Consortium News

    This article should have placed this as it’s opening sentence/paragraph. To long winded to expect Pelosi to notice:

    “The bombshell admission by CrowdStrike’s Shawn Henry on December 5, 2017 — not made public until May 7, 2020 — that CrowdStrike has no concrete evidence that the DNC emails were hacked is definitive. That this revelation has been suppressed by The New York Times and other “mainstream media” for three months now speaks volumes.”

    No Russian has ever been charged for hacking the DNC. Mueller admits he has no evidence of Russian hacking. The judge in Mueller’s case told him he has no evidence of Russian hacking. The DOJ says it can not produce evidence of Russian hacking. No one single fact has ever been presented suggesting Russia hacked the DNC, or it there has been, each and every one has been discredited.

    1. trhys

      IIRC Lakoff says that facts bounce off the mental frame which is a neuronal network in the individual’s brain. The frame is made stronger by repetition.

      Or, in other words, for effective propaganda to work, “lie big and repeat the lie often”.

      This pernicious lie is likely to be with us for many years.

      1. Skip Intro

        The important corollary is that even refuting the ‘facts’ can strengthen the belief simply by repeating the words and reinforcing the frame…. Like the NYT saying ‘We’re not fake news’.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      As happened in 2016, the american people will be “informed” of the extent of Russian election “meddling” after the election, and the extent of that “meddling” will be determined by the election outcome, not the other way around.

      Should Trump be reelected, the “meddling” will have been massive. If biden prevails, it will have been nonexistent.

      To carry the WMD example from the piece a little further, it’s the Downing Street Memo of 2020 which states–I’m paraphrasing–“the intelligence and ‘facts’ are being fixed around the outcome.”

      And in case anyone hasn’t noticed, the setup this time is remarkably similar to 2016, from poll after poll overwhelmingly favoring the democrat to talk of turning Texas blue. The only difference seems to be that democrats have figured out an excuse not to put their candidate in the the position of getting “dehydrated” while commemorating 9/11 on a balmy September day.

      1. km

        Ain’t it weird that “Russian meddling” is omnipresent, any time that the electorate votes in a way that the establishment doesn’t like? (2016 US presidential election, Brexit, Catalonia, etc.)

        But whenever the results favor the establishment (2017 French presidential election, 2018 midterm elections), then we can be assured that election is a clean as a whistle!

    1. km

      And Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself. Not that his demise would be so much more flattering to the Powers That Be if he had.

    1. Plague Species

      What is Wells Fargo up to?

      Gobbling up what remains of grandma’s and grandpa’s bank and savings accounts with contrived, bogus fees before the COVID-19 takes them.

    2. diptherio

      Trying to distract from the latest revelations of their continuing criminality, no doubt. The Fed becoming insolvent? That’s pretty rich. What, are they gonna run out of keystrokes? If there were anything approximating justice in this country, Wells would have been nationalized and its executives jailed for extended periods long, long ago. Alas…

    3. Oh

      This is their propaganda against MMT and I’m sure the right wingers will push the meme that the deficit has to be cut.

      1. JTMcPhee

        I guess that means there are a lot of Dem “right-wingers,” since there’s clearly a move afoot among the Dem side to “bipartisanly” get back to “cutting the deficit” by hamstringing Social Security and Medicare. Viva the Catfood Commission!

        1. Massinissa

          You’re unironically right: To quote Gore Vidal, America has one party with two right wings.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in Australian educational settings: a prospective cohort study”

    This paper, although it only came out this week, sounds awful familiar. About two months ago or more, Scotty from Marketing was hammering all the States to open up all the schools. Forget about all the hazards to the kids, their older teachers and even the school cleaners, those kids had to go back to school. Once this was done, then all those workers could then go back to work no matter what the heath situation was because their kids were back at school.

    So to justify it, he pulled some paper from out of a fundamental orifice to justify doing so. And reading this paper, it sounds an awful like the one used that was also from New South Wales. This at a time that most schools were shut down. Of course whenever schools open here, a couple have to shut down again for deep cleaning and isolation of possible infected people. Now that they have let the virus cut loose in south-eastern Australia, they have had to shut down the schools again as kids are such a great vector of virus spread. So forgive me if I look at this paper with a jaundiced eye.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Are we up to a normal season flu deaths in AU yet? Oh, look, no. About half.

      Meantime in the “Make Orwell Fiction Again” category, today’s winner is the AU state of Victoria, the premier gave his daily CoronaGate briefing. Behind him was a big banner:

      “Staying Apart Keeps Us Together”

      And the U.N. says an additional 125 million people worldwide will be put “at imminent risk of starvation” by the lockdowns. But they’re brown, so bad luck.

      And this year’s Corona deaths in India just hit 8% of this year’s tuberculosis deaths there. But that’s a bacteria that’s been killing people forever, not a sexy new Orange-tinted virus. Also bad luck.

      1. JBird4049

        So we should break the quarantine?

        COVID-19 is infectious, lethal or crippling, and likely to become more so if given the opportunity. If it becomes too easy to infect more people, the virus will probably become more lethal. How much? Who knows?

        Flu deaths are down because of the quarantine.

        I can not help starving people in other countries, but it would be nice to feed the thirty million Americans (as of last week, before the stimulus aid was cut by our ostensibly benevolent leadership) who are regularly without food. Thirty. Million. Americans. That’s almost 10% of the population.

        Tuberculosis has been around for thousands of years and during the century we have been able to cure it, many states have refused to adequately fund its eradication. However, that’s not the fault of those not in government alive today.

        Besides, most, but not all of the white death is curable unlike COVID19, which isn’t. Nobody with the money wants to fund the new treatments needed for the newish strains. Again, unlike COVID19.

        And so, I’m stuck my small apartment going bonkers with my elderly, sickly and perhaps dying cat. I’m also praying to God that my sickly Mom’s retirement home does not has its own quarantine fail.

        Any complaints make me want to bring out a very mini violin to give it its due sympathy. My comfort and convenience is not worth anyone else their life.

        1. sj

          +100. I’m sick to death of this being downplayed by deaf ears and blind eyes.

          Also, I’m very sorry about your cat. And wish the best for your Mom.

    1. urblintz

      Great link to the great Margaret Kimberley! Agreed that her’s is a superior take to Tracey’s.

      I don’t follow Tracey and have seen other comments that suggest he’s hit and miss so I don’t know, but if he pushed back against the absurd, xenophobic and extremely dangerous fantasy known as Russiagate, regardless of support he may have received from the right because of it, then more power to him. After the despicable Max Boot called him a commie sympathizer on MSNBC, Stephen Cohen was reduced to airtime with Tucker Carlson on Fox and podcasts with that other bow-tie wearing libertarian John Batchelor, because he was effectively banned from the “left” (roll eyes) MSM, most notably NBC, where he had served for decades as the highly credentialed go-to guy on Russia, long before cretins like Max Boot gained their undeserved credibility.

      1. The S

        Aaron Mate consistently had the best takes on Russiagate because he framed it as replacing genuine progressive opposition to Trump and Republican policy. While screaming about Russia, Democrats didn’t have to offer any policies, didn’t have to pass any legislation, didn’t have to talk about wealth inequality or forever war or the encroaching police state. This insulated/alienated him from right-wing followers simply looking for a defense of Trump.

        1. pjay

          True, but how did this differ from Tracey’s take on Russiagate? If I recall, Tracey was once one of the Young Turks but split after a continuous debate over just this topic with the Russiaphobic “progressive” Cenk Uygur. He was subject to a lot of “red-brown” bashing at that time from the “left” as well.

    2. Alternate Delegate

      Michael Tracey’s agenda is precisely to deny and obfuscate the multi-racial and class-solidarity nature of the protests. I have to say they were very nice to give him back his propaganda phone. I might have stepped on it.

        1. hunkerdown

          As Julianne Moore as Maude Lebowski once said, “Don’t be fatuous, Jeffrey.” Links is not an endorsement page, and Yves has said it plenty of times.

        2. pjay

          OK, all, I’ll ask the question again. Do you all think Tracey is *lying* in his reports? If so, why do you think he is doing this? If not, are you arguing that we should ignore such inconvenient issues for strategic reasons — i.e. the right-wingers might be able to use this (like exposing the lies behind Russiagate)! Or are you arguing that such is “collateral damage” in a righteous cause?

          AD claims Tracey has an “agenda” to “deny and obfuscate the multi-racial and class-solidarity nature of the protests.” Given Tracey’s past work, I find no indication that he would have such an “agenda”. I’m also a long-time admirer of Margaret Kimberley and BAR. I cited her myself a few weeks ago in response to Pepe Escobar’s very simplistic take on the BLM protests. But what Tracey is arguing is not as simplistic as Escobar’s. His own concern seems to be that the protests themselves might have been hijacked by outside interests.

          I am not categorically defending Tracey’s interpretation here at all. But I reject simply smearing him with the “red-brown” charge without responding to the evidence he presents in his in-person reporting, simply because it may not completely square with *our* favored narrative.

          1. Alex Cox

            +1. Tracey’s article was well researched and thoughtful. He travelled and interviewed people – like real journalists used to.

          2. integer

            Forget it. In the eyes of the putative left, Tracey has committed unpardonable sins such as interviewing Carter Page and appearing on Tucker Carlson’s show, and must therefore be denounced as a right-wing propagandist and fascist. Questioning any aspect of BLM is, in the eyes of the aforementioned putative left, simply unacceptable.

            I note dcblogger’s above comment is, in essence, a call for Tracey to be de-platformed, albeit one limited to the confines of NC.

        3. Kurt Sperry

          Agreed. That piece is a hot mess of right-wing deliberate incomprehension, and nearly completely misses what is going on.

        4. Massinissa

          Look, not everything linked at NC is endorsed by NC. Often links are included simply for discussion. Which this particular link has certainly generated.

    3. martell

      Tracey seems to have actually been in Portland. Judging from the content of her article, I’d be very surprised if Kimberley has ever set foot in the place.

      1. Oso

        Tracey was in Portland and wrote a bs article. Kimberley may or may not have ever been to Portland and wrote the truth. content should be key. to your point Portland PD press releases would be valid commentary.

        1. pjay

          Could you explain why it is a “bs” article? I’m not trying to be snarky, but asking a legitimate question — the same one as I asked above. I.e., do you think he is lying? Is he describing real events but lending credence (wittingly or not) to right-wing narratives, in your view? Are the problems he has described in his articles (his earlier work is not quite as polemical and one-sided as this one) simply unimportant or necessary for the Greater Good? In short, how is the article “bs”?

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Anything to divide things horizontally, not vertically.

            And the rubes have fully fallen for it, yet again. #MeToo, #BLM, Masks vs No Masks, CNN vs Fox, Red vs Blue etc.

            Perfect cover while the billionaires carve up the last remaining meat on the bones of Empire and cart it away.

          2. Oso

            sorry was off the net.
            my perspective is different from basically everyone here, seeing it from black/native PoV. consensus among people in the streets is, white folks finally stepped their game up. they’re in the streets standing alongside black and indigenous people, mobbed up. not just a handful of radicals. and in Portland they’re holding it down. my take as i read it is he went in with his mind made up, looking thru his fragile white lens at antifa putting in work while acknowledging black leadership. he was correctly told by security to stop recording. he chose to be a prick and was lucky they went easy on him.
            you got some vicious pigs there in Portland who were as bad as the Border Patrol pigs came in, yet Tracey bought the lie that they were “progressive”. bs written by a liberal unable to separate himself from his privilege.
            NC readers won’t like this, you asked tho

    4. Jessica

      Michael Tracey’s characterization of the Portland police as progressive differs from what I heard while living in Portland. They might say nice things about LGBT or the like, but they were still brutal.

      1. AndrewJ

        There’s people, black or not, here in Portland that are dead at the hands of the PPB – a young man, unarmed, shoot in the back with an officer’s AR, another, unarmed, killed during a welfare check, and more besides. PPB has not ever removed the officers responsible for these extrajudicial slayings and will not change their agency’s culture that allows them to happen. There is very legitimate beef to be had with our municipal police, and the protestors are not going to stop until real reform or abolition of the PPB happens.
        Not to mention their riot control team has shown over and over again how little they care for first amendment rights, citizen safety, proportional use of force, or use of acoustic weapons or tear gas in residential areas. Since day 1 they were in full battle gear, ready to swing batons at anyone that didn’t move fast enough for their liking or aim for heads with their impact munitions. These days they’re tearing off respirators and bullrushing crowds. And they’re still hiding officer names and identification numbers.
        Unaccountable, violent stormtroopers. Tracy really doesn’t understand that black/white/antifa/BLM activists are quite happily sharing the same objectives in resisting the police state.

        1. JWP

          They’re good at showing face and saying hi, having small talk when just hanging out on the streets. AndrewJ has the rest covered. A dirty PD with the city’s historical racism coursing through their veins and acted upon with their militarized gear and tactics.

  10. diptherio

    Love that you put our interview with NY Music Co-op under “class warfare.” The working class strikes back with a democratic business model! Hopefully it will become successful enough that all the members can quit working their other gigs. And who knows, if the pandemic wipes out enough of their competitors, they may end up being the only ones left standing.

    And if anybody is looking for some online music instruction to help pass the quarantine, they’re offering them at a very reasonable price (with a sliding scale, in case you need a break to afford it).

  11. a different chris

    Well it’s not just us, per the Germans on sending back the Americans:

    >Voter opinion, however, tended to differ from that of the parties they support.

    So not entirely sure what these “democracies” we have today actually are? You vote for people that don’t want to and don’t seem to have to do what you want them to do… At least a dictatorship saves you the trouble.

    1. hunkerdown

      In bourgeois democracy, every property owner has a say in the conditions they (and the vast majority, the rest of us) live under.

      If one is a PMC whose entire life was non-productively squandered preparing themselves to manipulate symbols and people (aka “college track”), then these “democracies” and the recognition by them in the form of a modestly elevated station are payment due.

  12. Amfortas the hippie

    Re: Rod Dreher:
    “The new civil war, if it comes, will primarily be carried out within institutions, all of which are controlled by the left, with purges against the right. But it could turn violent if militias begin attacking each other, and/or if the police cannot stop outbreaks of violent protest and crime. There could be other ways, I’m sure — and we need to think about them, and talk about them, and attempt to stop them before they start.”

    Rod shows his own muddied lenses, here, I think.
    where i live, at least, any violence and/or government repression will be decidedly right wing derived.
    Justified by things like that Unherd article…”antifa is under my bed!”.
    Locally, I know who those folks are, where that kind of rhetoric is likely to come from…and maybe even action, although that would be a giant step for them…and I’m unsure about how the local majority would respond.
    by lunchtime, today…after the citizenry has a chance to read the local paper…i should have an indication of the sentiments out here, as well as what shape the “sides” might take.

    1. Wukchumni

      One important aspect to consider in the upcoming Civil War 2 is that Americans were implored to go out and get as armed & dangerous as possible, and i’d guess the vast majority of those with hand cannons in the Big Smokes have never fired their weapons, or maybe once or twice.

      It’d be similar to being told to go out and buy cars & gas, but with no ability to drive and the jalopy just sits in the garage for years.

      …stay tuned

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        that IS an important aspect.
        most of the “militia” types I have known get all their “training” from watching movies and then aping them around campfires and barbques.
        with ample beer.
        But 99% of those with “antigov”/”bring it on” sentiments i have known in my life wouldn’t last 10 minutes in a firefight.
        cut off the beer supply and that army slips away.

        as i’ve said elsewhere, it’s the actual militias and the gangs and such that are organised for these times…the former, near as i can tell, are a minority and scattered mostly through the empty west.
        The latter are more widely spread and connected, with alliances and bidness relationships and networks of contacts, etc. They’re likely present within 10 miles of where each of you sit, right now…and always have been.

        organisation doesn’t just happen.
        and an ad hoc response to collapse is disadvantageous.

        1. a different chris

          >wouldn’t last 10 minutes

          I’m not a gun person so I don’t remember the number, but I was told an AR-15 goes thru a full clip in a time best measured in seconds.

          Then you gotta reload whilst under return fire….

          1. ambrit

            Only fools run through full clips on full auto. Burst fire was designed to use in close in situations where a small region of one’s surroundings became ‘dangerous.’ A burst mainly forces the ‘opponent’ to seek cover. Then the fun begins.
            Sniping is the safest form of offense. But that takes planning.

        2. BlueMoose

          I think this a point worth following up (gangs are organized – opportunity favors the prepared mind). See my response to your earlier post at 10:59. I think at some point the federal govt will have its hands full and be more than willing to write off certain sectors of the country.

        3. Fritzi

          Better be on good footing with your local, friendly neighbourhood gangster.

          I’m reminded of how it’s always said about Italy that if the state were to actually, you know exactly who would step in it’s place.

          Macaber as it is, perhaps people in regions with a strong, already existing organized crime paralell Power structure in place might in a way be better of than those where such a thing does not exist or only to a rudimentary degree?

          As far as I know the Yakuza is usually much quicker at at least organizing disaster relief than the japanese goverment is as well.

          Disaster relief is a temporary measure quite different from actual societal collapse of course, but still….

    2. Sutter Cane

      I’d really like to see any institutions in the US that are controlled by “the left.”

      Neoliberals, sure. Liberals, some. But the left? There ain’t any.

      1. JWP

        NYC friends referring to DeBlasio as “the far left ruining our city” Progressives need to quickly separate from the PMC left.

    3. Redlife2017

      I found it interesting that in the article people could not spit out the one word that I had on my mind when reading it: “Bosnia” Cause if you want a real world example of cities being torn apart, of friendships falling apart suddenly, of people having to hide in cellars for months – that is the one. And that seems to me to be at least a bit more applicable to the issue at hand. We have multiple elite groups pushing their own agenda, bringing up historic grievances and weaponizing them (the misuse of BLM by the Democrats is one – i.e. the kente cloth nightmare of Nancy Pelosi et al in Capital Hill; the weird defense of the Confederacy and slavery by multiple Republicans is another).

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Every civil war has its unique ingredient, its rarely a straight fight between two opposing ideological groups at loggerheads. In the Spanish Civil War, the Basques and other northern linguistic minorities were mostly traditionalist rural conservatives, but they fought next to the leftist Republicans against the Nationalists. The Irish civil War 1920-22-23 had all sorts of odd alliances, with conservatives and leftists on both sides – similarly with the Civil War in Northern Ireland for the end of the 20th Century. Of course, it gets worse when outsiders butt in, whether it was Germany and the USSR in the Finnish Civil War, or for that matter those in Korea, Vietnam, and so on…. the list is endless. But all of them have in common that the war was probably avoidable, but once the shooting started civil wars seem to have a uniquely cruel and vicious edge.

        The South Korean example is instructive – the blogger TKK (frequently linked here) has said that US politics often weirdly mirrors South Korean politics. Its often forgotten that even after South Korea was created, there was essentially a low level civil war going on for a couple of decades, with local uprisings by workers, peasants and students put down brutally by the government, until the country slowly ‘normalised’, with (finally) a progressive liberal government now in power. The social split between a very rigidly conservative and right wing (usually influenced by US Christian churches) element and society and a more progressive urban population is at least as, if not more potentially deep than the US one, but so far they’ve kept a lid on it – they could give lessons to the US on how to do it. Of course, it helps if your right wing conservatives self destruct in the way the South Korean ones have managed to do.

        1. km

          In 1960, South Korea was desperately poor, a basket case.

          Rising prosperity makes it a whole lot easier to keep a lid on tensions, just sayin’.

        2. JTMcPhee

          I believe SK is a pretty homogeneous population, and has some pretty strong unifying myths. The US shibboleths are pretty much in the ash can — one wonders what holds things together here as well as they do, in light of what should be unbearably painful cognitive dissonance.

      2. David

        Well, two major differences, I think. One is that Yugoslavia had a tradition of military service, and most adult males had been trained to use weapons and spent several years in the Army, not watching videos of Hollywood films. The country was also awash with weapons. The other is the there were pre-existing categories for society to collapse into, each with pre-existing leadership contenders, a religious and cultural identity, different versions of history, even different alphabets and (at least in the case of the Muslims and the Croats) foreign sponsors .

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Plus we had the lovely Madeleine Allbright and the ever-enterprising Bubba there to orchestrate the dry run of “Nation Smashing For Fun and Profit”. Later so helpful in Iraq etc. Hospitals and schools make such excellent targets, so do aspirin factories.

          If I had my way
          I would move to another lifetime
          I’d quit my job
          Ride the train through the misty nighttime
          I’ll be ready when my feet touch ground
          Wherever I come down
          And if the folks will have me
          Then they’ll have me

          Any world that I’m welcome to
          Is better than the one I come from

          I can hear your words
          When you speak of what you are and have seen
          I can see your hand
          Reaching out through a shining daydream
          Where the days and nights are not the same
          Captured happy in a picture frame
          Honey I will be there
          Yes I’ll be there

          Any world that I’m welcome to
          Is better than the one I come from

          I got this thing inside me
          That’s got to find a place to hide me
          I only know I must obey
          This feeling I can’t explain away
          I think I’ll go to the park
          Watch the children playing
          Perhaps I’ll find in my head
          What my heart is saying
          A vision of a child returning
          A kingdom where the sky is burning
          Honey I will be there
          Yes I’ll be there

          Any world that I’m welcome to
          Is better than the one I come from”

          – Steely Dan, 1975

    4. Henry Moon Pie

      I’ll have to give Dreher credit. He made it through this entire piece without once blaming the hippies and sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll for all our troubles.

      Rod’s busy fighting the war of the last 50 years when the virus is moving us onto the next battle. The struggle is over who we are and who we should be. Dreher’s crowd believes that western European Christian culture represents the apotheosis of human existence, but that bunch’s days are numbered. The new tussle is between, on one hand, those who think our current misery is because we have not evolved to the next, trans-human level, and on the other hand, those who see our problems as the result of having deserted our true, human selves with the cure being in Joni’s call to “get back to the Garden.” Think Gattaca versus New Buffalo Commune.

      1. Massinissa

        “The new tussle is between, on one hand, those who think our current misery is because we have not evolved to the next, trans-human level, and on the other hand, those who see our problems as the result of having deserted our true, human selves with the cure being in Joni’s call to “get back to the Garden.” Think Gattaca versus New Buffalo Commune.”

        Er, I don’t think I follow your logic, I may be missing something. As someone who used to follow them closely, actual believers in transhumanism are incredibly rare. I’m not even sure if the tech billionaires even really count. I have less understanding of the second group you posit, but hippy commune types seem rather rare to me as well. I don’t see how you can realistically argue that such fringe beliefs are going to somehow be a new social faultline.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          Fair enough. Let me try to explain what I mean.

          I’m using transhumanism to refer to the view that humans need perfecting so they can better fit this sacred system of profit. Some of that perfecting can be accomplished by genetic manipulation. Most of the rest can be handled with behavioral modification. What is important is that it’s humans that must adapt to this system, not the other way around.

          Now that’s not textbook Teilhard du Chardin, but if we look beyond the sales pitches, that’s what a lot of Silicon Valley and their Democrat enthusiasts are offering.

          The other point of view looks at where we are and asserts that we’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere that has left us out of sync with the planet on which we evolved. The prescription in that case would be a massive move toward simplification, self-examination in the form of intensified anthropological and sociological research, and an embrace of humility when it comes to dealing with the Earth and our fellow creatures.

          It’s not surprising that there are not a lot of adherents to either view right now. After all, why think about such big picture issues when history is over and there is no alternative? But lo and behold, a little virus came among us, and history is getting a lot more interesting. And there are people who have been thinking about such things in such terms for half a century and those ideas have been percolating through the populace for all that time.

          The environmental crisis and some technological advances have brought some of these issues to the fore. Now the chaos being engendered by the virus and its mishandling is exposing the bankruptcy of the old western European mindset to more and more people. It simply can’t cope with the challenge. A new worldview will have to emerge.

        2. Fritzi

          Yeah, most tech billionaires are almost certainly ordinary scimmers and scammers instead of actual transhuman “visionaries”.

          They only play that part to swindle people out of their money and data (for monetary reasons) and because they are narcissists who love the attention and infamy.

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        yeah,lol, Rod does have his autonomic responses.
        when i first heard of him(Benedict Option), i found pretty quickly that i could overlook such things since he so obviously had a good heart, and was sincere in his faith and in the living of it.
        he’s a Russel Kirk conservative, and i’ve always gotten along with them, since i share with them a consideration of Place and embeddedness in human life, as well as the ideal that we shouldn’t step over the suffering in the damned street, but should endeavor to help them.
        Those are things that can be built on…which is what i reckon we desperately need, these days.
        The site he linked: is interesting…tries to be balance between the red/blue, left/right…but like dreher and so many others, gets bogged down in trying to shoehorn people into this taxonomy.
        i mean, Hillary is not “far left”, Rod,lol
        each of those sides has a caricature of their opposite, and we’re not allowed…tacitly, as well as by herd reinforcement…to look for commonalities.
        I disagree with Rod on many, many things…but what we agree on is more important.
        I can overlook his unthinking reliance on olde tymey tropes that no longer reflect the world as it is, now…because just about everybody is trapped in those binaries….and the various herds we’re embedded in virtually reinforce them.
        we’ve forgotten how to overlook differences in service of commonalities.
        the fella at the beginning of my dirt road, down at the highway, is as right wing religious as they come…his wife goes off on tangents about how some random thing is “Satan’s Plan” at the drop of a hat.
        so i just don’t talk about religion or national or state politics with them.
        we talk about dirt and horses(they’re cowboy church, bring your horse) and the state of the groundwater and I trade my eggs for his surplus horseshit.
        they know full well…after being neighbors for 20 years…that i’m a pinko commie libertine crazy person who gardens naked…but it doesn’t seem to matter, because i respect them and don’t try to force feed them libertarian socialism, and I listen politely—and even remove my hat—when they break out into spontaneous prayer, of a sudden(!).
        I need a hay bale moved, he’s there…he needs help catching a loose horse, I’m there.
        insistence on purity cuts both ways, and is a recipe for what we’re seeing right now.

        1. Janie

          Yep, neighbors. The neighbors you have are what you have, so it’s smart in these times to find common ground and let the ideology go.

    5. JTMcPhee

      Here’s one view of what might happen in our lovely democracy, and a reminder of what Imperial “policies” has wrought on other places: “Syrian Diaries: Nine Years of War,”

      It’s from RT, but amazing how resilient and self-sufficient the “sanctioned” and bombed-out people of Syria have proven to be. Wonder how things would turn out in my own little mostly white working class subdivision, were push come to shove? A lot of gunz here, and a lot of wound-up-tight people.

  13. The Rev Kev

    Using picnic tables as barriers? They would be heavy and difficult to manage though solid. What they would be useful for is as a temporary barrier to protect protesters and once they have served their purpose, then dropped in place to form a barrier across the road to slow up advancing police and/or troops. The best gear to use is metal shields with handle grips on one side to hold them firmly. Otherwise know as a Roman Scutum. It wasn’t new then and it is still practical now for one very good reason – they work. Hell, I have even seen police use their shields to make a Testudo formation. Here is the Korean police using their shields at work-

    1. Keith

      It makes a great photo-op on social media, though, which may have been the goal. Protesting is all about messaging, where function often follows form.

  14. Keith

    Wasn’t the same argument used about drug/narcotic sniffing dogs? The criminal justice system is replete with stories about how these dogs take cues from their handlers and can often give false positives and negatives. I would be suspect about this. I do not doubt the capability, I doubt the ability to employ it.

    1. anonymous

      There was an important study published by Lisa Lit in 2011 showing that professional detection dogs were being influenced by their handlers. When handlers were led to believe that target scent was present, even though the area was blank, the dogs frequently gave an indication. 
      Lit’s study was  influential in the 2012 Supreme Court Florida vs. Jardines decision.

      In response to those questions about reliability, and because of the explosion of interest in canine cognition and training in the past decade or two, training and certification for detection dogs has become much more rigorous, with great attention paid to avoiding false alerts by practicing double blind hides. There are now many university veterinary, psychology and ethology department academics dedicated to dog cognition and the working dog, and their research on canine learning is incorporated into modern training. The dog’s nose is exquisitely sensitive. The issue is that the handler must not create a reward history for inadvertent hints, such as handler position or expression, rather than only rewarding the finding of the target odor. Here’s a 2019 discussion of the Lisa Lit study (starts at 28 min) on a police K9 podcast:
      It starts with a replay of an old interview with Lit from soon after her study, and the podcast hosts’ discussion follows at 1:05:30. You can see how aware handlers/trainers are now of the necessity of not influencing the dog to alert.

      There has also been the development of scent work activities (other than the tracking and scent work that has long been incorporated into obedience and ring sports) as very competitive and popular canine sports over the last few years. Police handlers came into demand as judges and trainers for the sport world, and training methods and techniques came under the microscope.

      With the UAE airport Covid detector dogs in today’s links, those dogs (per accompanying video) are scenting samples of sweat placed in bottles and then in a metal cone line-up separate from the individuals from whom the samples were obtained. If a handler in a poorly trained team had a suspicion about a sample and knew in which metal cone the suspicious sample had been placed, it would be possible for the handler to influence the alert, but I would guess that the handler taking the dog past the samples in this UAE video would not know the location of particular samples or even see the expressions, as he is running his dog, of those who placed the samples.

      In the US, Cindy Otto, DVM, of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center, has an ongoing Covid detection dog project in which she does not envision using dogs to screen samples, but rather to screen large crowds (the people themselves) quickly.  She chose to use Labradors because they are more readily accepted by the public than dogs such as shepherds, and she wanted to have dogs that could be deployed if the project was successful. She collaborates with scientists who work on electronic detection of  VOC signatures identified by dogs, and she sees high throughput electronic detection as more useful for sample screening. The Covid project started with saliva and urine samples (with virus inactivated) provided by the University of Pennsylvania hospitals, and Otto has more recently been working with T-shirts from those who have had recent Covid test results. The T-shirt requests are in a post pinned to the top of the center’s Facebook page (, where there is also a link to a recent update on NBC news.

      If you are interested in hearing Dr.Otto talk about the Covid project, here she was interviewed on 7/20/20 by a handler/trainer with an extensive background in military and police canine work. (If you Google “K9 Talking Scents”, you will find different listening options for the same podcast.)  The discussion of medical detection dogs starts at 36 min, with the Covid project starting at 38:45. 

  15. CanChemist

    The catastrophe in Beirut is being understated. It is comparable to, and may possibly exceed, the largest ammonium nitrate disaster in history, in Texas City:

    “The Texas City disaster, which began on April 16, 1947, was the deadliest industrial accident in U.S. history and one of the largest non-nuclear explosions. ” There is apparently more ammonium nitrate involved in Beirut. On top of what will no doubt be an enormous toll of death and injury, it’s destroyed a port of massive importance to both Lebanon and the region.

    It should also be noted that there would have needed to be a significant fire to initiate this. Internet theories seem to refer to a nearby fireworks storage having ignited and started the fire.

    For live updates, a lot of of good information at the Guardian:

    1. David

      Yes. I have a long post on this which has gone missing in hyperspace after several attempts, but you’re right. The provisional totals of 100 dead and 4000 hurt are almost certainly an underestimate, and large parts of the city have been damaged. The government estimates 300,000 people are homeless.

    2. CanChemist

      From the Guardian, on the trigger,

      “Initial reports suggested that a fireworks warehouse was involved. The Lebanese security chief, Abbas Ibrahim, later blamed combustible chemicals stored in a warehouse. The interior minister, Mohammed Fahmi, said ammonium nitrate had been among the materials stored and called for an investigation into how it ignited.

      “Talk of fireworks is ridiculous,” said Ibrahim. “There are no fireworks but rather highly explosive material, and I can’t foretell the investigations … it seems the explosion happened in a warehouse of highly explosive material that was confiscated years ago.””

      Now seeing speculations online that the ‘fireworks’ may have been stored munitions.

      1. hunkerdown

        According to legal counsel, 2750 tonnes of abandoned AN cargo was removed from the abandoned ship and just warehoused, right next to a granary.

        And, not that I’m foily this early in the day, but I wouldn’t put Mossad or any other Western intelligence agency past knowing about and lighting a match in that warehouse. It’s what saboteurs do.

        1. TMoney

          Granary’s are known explosive hazards in the their own right. Dust is dangerous. Almost any sort of organic material turned into a fine enough powder can be made to explode. Custard powder is a favourite. If I’m running the Op, I blow the granary – for plausible deniability.

          1. HotFlash

            About once a week someone in my freshman dorm would empty a bag of flour down the incinerator chute just for fun.

    3. Clive

      Estimates for the yield of the explosion vary, but if 3,750 metric tonnes of nitrate (which is 4,000 US tons) were involved in the thermal energy release then this equates to a atomic ordinance detonation of 2-3kt, possibly as much as a 5kt ground burst under optimum explosion propagation conditions and if other high explosives were involved rather than just “fireworks”.

      The Hiroshima atomic bomb’s yield is the subject of much debate, estimates range from 10kt to 21kt with most best-guesses settling on something around the middle of that range, but it is a very inexact science as data collection was limited.

      So as a rough guess, the explosion in Beirut was potentially up to between a quarter and a half of that of the atomic bomb which was dropped on Hiroshima. Luckily, although luckily doesn’t really seem the right word, half the blast wave was sent out to sea rather than the full force of the explosion happening in the city centre.

      1. David

        The local media is saying 2750 tonnes, but it’s a big bang by any account. The Mayor has said that half the buildings in the city were destroyed or damaged. A friend who works near the Parliament building said that his own building was “totalled” by the blast, and there was serious damage to buildings, as far a I can tell, at least 5km away. The government has apparently said that no munitions were stored there, and indeed it’s not obvious why they would have been – the Army has plenty of storage facilities of its own.

      2. CanChemist

        Guardian is reporting it currently as 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, which is enormous.

        “Former crew members said the ship was owned by Igor Grechushkin, a Russian national believed to be living in Cyprus, where he holds either citizenship or residency. Grechushkin, a native of the far-eastern city of Khabarovsk, is reported to have managed Teto Shipping, which owned the Rhosus.

        The ship arrived in Beirut in 2013 while sailing from Georgia to Mozambique. It was prevented from leaving the Beirut port in 2014 over an unspecified dispute, either because the ship was deemed not seaworthy or because the owner had failed to pay the necessary fees to the port.

        It was then that Grechushkin is said to have walked away from the ship, refusing to answer calls or negotiate with the port authorities for the release of his sailors.

        In complaints to the press in 2014, former crew members said they had been “abandoned” in Beirut and had not been paid their wages for nearly a year. “The owner [of the ship] has virtually abandoned the ship and its crew,” wrote the ship’s former captain. “Salaries are not paid, supplies are not purchased. The shipowner has refused the cargo.””

        1. orlbucfan

          Wasn’t ammonium nitrate the main ingredient in the Oklahoma City blast? Very small potatoes and deliberately set, I know, but still very, very nasty.

      3. PlutoniumKun

        Yup, the direct blast damage from both nukes on Japan were surprisingly light – it was the subsequent fires that really did the damage we’ve all seen on photos, and which caused a high proportion of the casualties. I don’t think they’ve ever done a full calculation on the final yield, especially of the Nagasaki bomb, as it was a bit of a one-off. And both bombs were dropped in a way specifically to maximise casualties – air blasts within semi-enclosed valleys (although the Nagasaki bomb went into the wrong valley). Actually, if I remember my reading of the history, the USAF used 10 tonnes or so of ammonium nitrate in the ‘test’ Fat Man bombs they dropped on Japan prior to the Hiroshima blast in order to make sure it would drop and detonate in the they way they intended.

        Ammonium nitrate is pretty hard stuff to explode. This is one reason why its popular with mine operators, as it takes a good slurry mix and strong detonators go get it to work, hence it doesn’t require the same security measures as dynamite/gelignite. Amateur chemists in Northern Ireland spent much of the 1970’s and 80’s finding the right combination to do the most damage. Basically it needs to be well powdered or mixed into a fuel slurry along with a pretty powerful detonator. Most of the semtex the IRA got from Libya was used as detonators for ammonium nitrate bombs, not as the primary explosive. This type of explosion is relatively slow and hot, which is pretty good when your focus is on localised damage. But I understand that predicting the precise output is pretty hard, even in mining – but it doesn’t matter so much in the latter use, as precision isn’t required if all you want to do is loosen up a pile of limestone.

        It may be though that once you get to a certain critical mass, it’ll explode more efficiently even if it isn’t properly prepared. So I guess it’s possible that it was the maximum theoretical explosion from that quantity of material if the original detonating blast was big enough. Either way, it looks like it was terrifyingly large. As you suggest, it may be that it exploded in the least worst place within the city – at the edge of the harbour, but not so close as to cause a big wave, and with the big silos there to absorb at least some of the blast.

        But in short, this means that there was probably some sort of very large primary explosion that made it go up so efficiently – in Lebanon this could well mean badly stored munitions, there must be lots of half forgotten weapons stores around that country. I believe that in other such accidents gas or fuel leaks were responsible – often a fuel leak into the stored fertiliser, before vapour in any void exploded, providing the detonator.

        Whichever way you look at it, it indicates a breach of the very first rule of safe chemical handling, which is to keep such materials well separated from each other.

        1. Jeotsu

          Memory of a conversation from long ago states that a deflagration (subsonic blast front) can become a detonation (supersonic blast front) given a large enough quantity of material. This person went on to calculate the size of sugar cube (sucrose) it would take to achieve a detonation — the answer was somewhere in the multiple kilometers.

          So it is possible (but by no means definite) that sheer quantity of ammonium nitrate could have resulted in different blast characteristics.

      4. vlade

        It’s actually likely higher, as “only” 50% of nuke’s energy is a blast wave, while for AN explosion I believe it’s much more (yes, it’s an exotermic reaction, but not nuke-temperature exotermic)

    4. David

      The government has said that, for the moment, there’s no danger of starvation. The grain silos were nearly empty, and more grain is on the way. It can be landed in Tripoli, in the north of the country, which is the only other serious port, although also, just to enliven things, the scene of some recent disturbances and violence. But the grain has to be paid for, and until now the Central Bank has been subsiding imports, to make up the difference between the historical rate of exchange of 1500L to the $, and the 8000L to the dollar at which grain and grain products are actually sold. It’s not obvious for how long they can keep doing this.
      Meanwhile according to the local media, there’ a big political argument starting over whose responsibility it was to make the ammonium nitrate safe. Some groups are claiming that there were indeed fireworks stored nearby, and others that there were works underway to make the hangar where the chemical was stored safe. There’s speculation that the works might have resulted a fire which set of the fireworks…
      Incidentally, if you go to the Google map of Beirut, the site of the explosion has been marked, and you can get a good idea of where it was relative to the city centre (not far).

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Thanks for the head-up about Googlemaps. 18 years ago I walked/cycled the peninsula area, just to get a feel for that part of the city. The port/industrial area where the explosion took place was inaccessible (like much of Beirut, if you are not in a car, forget it). It was all very disappointing as there were few attractive sections, and most of those were full of soldiers jogging or chatting up girls – if I recall correctly that part, near AUB, is full of quasi army bases, they even have their own small private beach. Back then, the Syrian Army called the shots, the Lebanese soldiers just focused on looking cool in Raybans.

        1. David

          AUB is quite a bit farther to the West – down the hill from Hamra, but I think there are still Army installations around there. You still can’t really go into the Port area (not that you would, there’s nothing much to see) but the area just to the West (Zaituna bay) is full of restaurants and a harbour with large private yachts. Well, until yesterday.

      1. Olga

        Well, this is the daily beast, what can one expect… Moldova, Russia – it’s all the same. The fact that this cargo was seized in 2013 – and nothing was done for seven (7) years – does not need to be clearly spelled out.
        Plus, so far only Syria, Iran, and Russia are providing help.

      2. David

        Oh, the conspiracy theorists were all over this in about five minutes. Mind you, the Yahoo story talked of “bomb” in the figurative sense, not a real bomb. Meanwhile, there’s a furious game of pass-the-blame going on in Beirut. Essentially, the is what happens when you have a non-functioning government: the problem has been known about for years but nobody actually did anything about it.

  16. Carolinian

    Re Michael Tracey versus The Nation and The Intercept–It’s a curious thing as one side tries to blame all the protest violence on the “Boogaloo Boies” (who leave lots of convenient Internet bread crumbs) versus the mysterious Antifa which may or may not exist depending on who’s talking. Tracey did at least do some on the ground reporting in Portland and even claims to have been gassed. By Tracey’s account the late night militants throwing V-8 can sized firework bombs (where do you buy those BTW?) are more hobbyist radicals–just waiting around for any convenient cause to don their military grade protective vests and gas masks. Maybe you can order these from the back page ads of Anarchist magazine. Then there’s the rightwing crazies who certainly have done more destructive things–the Oklahoma City bombing comes to mind–but by most accounts seem to have been on the wane since the 1990s except for the lone gunman type killers whose only “organization’ is more likely some Internet social network.

    Here’s suggesting there will be no new Civil War and that both sides are mostly phantasms being used by the politicians for their own purposes. When a group of black militants carrying assault rifles marched through Georgia’s Stone Mtn Park recently–challenging the KKK to show up–nobody came. Antifa may be more real given all the destruction in the Twin Cities but Tracey offers no proof that there are real plotters behind all those painted “A’s.” So far all we have is noise.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      yep. I don’t think the “sides” in any civil conflict will be anything near “right vs left”.
      antifa…at best composed of loosely organised affinity groups, plus who knows how large a percentage of cointelpro infiltrators/provocateurs…is unlikely to be a rallying point for large numbers of americans throughout the land.
      the various 3%, oathkeeprs, too…tiny minority. The danger of the latter is the ease that actual nazis and legacy patriot militias and actual white nationalists can coopt their platforms.
      same with boobaloo…I’ve seen lots of things from them that i could have said around a campfire, especially recently from facebook leaders…but the better organised militant far right is often standing behind them making bunny ears.
      no one is so far mentioning the gangs….like the prison/motorcycle gangs, as well as outfits like the Zetas and sinaloa.
      there’s almost always conflict between these groups way back in the alleyway, out of sight…even way out here. we’ve had mexican mafia chasing off the zetas right here several years ago, and no one knew about it,lol.
      add in texas syndicate and numerous others to the mix.
      and all of these have nebulous connections to law enforcement and local power elites in myriad convoluted ways.
      and the local power elites are organised, as well…but seem prone to conventional, in the box thinking for the most part(and in my experience).
      and don’t forget churches, either.
      resources and protection will be the order of the day in most places, i reckon.
      and this all depends on how bad things get, both in reality, as well as in perception.
      it doesn’t have to go that way, of course…but where is the leadership and legitimacy that could lead us on another trail?
      nationally, that looks like a pipe dream.
      in Texas as a whole, also.
      Locally is where the hope lies.
      and probably at a much more granular level.
      if you haven’t already, get acquainted with your neighborhood/village as best you can. hyperlocal mutual aid is likely the best bet for getting through whatever’s coming.
      encourage those nearest you to start ordering seeds right now to build a distributed stockpile, and build community around that.
      Victory Gardens=> Solidarity Gardens=>Our Gardens.
      “eat all we can and share the rest”

      1. BlueMoose

        I also think that the gangs/drug cartels are being seriously ignored, much to their liking. There are probably few groups as well organized and motivated and used to violence. I was actually thinking about doing a fictional account of the moment when they decide to make their move in the SW USA. The idea was that after biding their time and carefully prestaging members and equipment, they would create a few regional incidents that would get an immediate response from local/state law enforcement.

        Prior to this, actual agreements would be drawn up among the gangs to divide up territory and cooperate as needed. At a moment when the USA is internally in a state of chaos (not hard to imagine) they pull the trigger. When law enforcement responds to the planned events, they are met on the way in ambush. After that, local law enforcement would tend to stay in the city to and abandon the outlying areas to the gangs. Basically no-go zones. Plus, even in the so called safe-zones there would be guerrilla action from gang members that would keep law enforcement pinned down locally.

        If anybody wants to run with that, have at it. I’m not even sure how ficional it will turn out to be in the near future. Anyone from that area of the USA want to add more detail/ideas?

        1. Wukchumni

          One aspect of law enforcement that is very similar to our series of losing wars since the turn of the century, is that similar to our GI Joes & Janes, they are in very identifiable uniforms, while everybody else isn’t.

            1. JTMcPhee

              Which is what the cops and feds who are doing the instigating and troublemaking wear.

              I can’t find where anyone has tracked down the guy in the civvy clothes with helmet and face covering that used a sledge hammer or similar tool to break the first window (AutoZone?) in Mpls as the reaction to the killing of Floyd George ramped up. Sure looked like a provocateur to me. The “news” reports say he was a “Hells’ Angel White Supremacist,” but don’t give a name. The guy walks like a cop, to me: And a HE kind of guy would have turned violently on the couple of people who followed him, most likely. He did his thing and moved on — too ad no one thought to follow him for longer.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          Gang activity in the manner you are suggesting tends to follow depopulating events. NAFTA wrecked Northern Mexico, and the internal structures such as kids going to school and the subsequent parental involvement drops significantly creating the conditions where illegal activity can thrive.

          Conversely, our rural gangs of white people do seem well armed, but again they do have room to operate.

          To me its not so much that the police even a formerly non militarized police would be bogged down as the police would have discipline not based on fear and backstabbing to climb the ladder. Hence, a dopey fantasy small town police force could roll up the most imaginary vicious “gang”. Its more of a problem if the structure that supports those police collapse. Then the police collapse. The police might morph into gangs. I would argue you would need precipitating events causing major population disruptions, either a massive influx the system isn’t ready to manage or depopulation crashing the system. The idea of gangs drawing up agreements and managing that well would effectively make them the government as they more or less demonstrated a monopoly on violence and stability.

          Disclaimer: American police are glorified gangs.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > encourage those nearest you to start ordering seeds right now to build a distributed stockpile, and build community around that.

        Excellent plan. Make that “ordering heirloom seeds.”* Hopefully from a source close to you, and even better a seed company that’s been in business a long time. (Maine has co-ops, because hippies went “back to the land,” and very successful they are, too.)

        * A cursory search doesn’t tell me whether private equity has gone into seeds (yet), because the hits are all mixed up with “seed money.”

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          i looked for that same information, re: seed co’s being bought up by PE or whatever, some years ago…ere google was as crapified.
          only rumor among disparate anti-monsatan blogs…nothing confirmable.
          but it wouldn’t surprise me one bit.
          I like Territorial…and we still do a lot of Johnny’s.
          I try to give whatever smaller operations my truck when possible…especially those not located in the Northeast or Northwest….because here in Central Texas, we’re more akin to Arizona or New Mexico than such leafy, wet regions.
          (Amfortas’ Garden Axiom #3 for Hill Country: when it says “full sun”, it means “under the pecan tree”)
          I’m deep into the seed saving right now…my kitchen and greenhouse are both covered in paper towels on trays with things drying out. soon, i’ll spend a day or two disentangling the dried seeds from the paper and sticking them in little jars and labeling them as best i can(no point in getting “labels” from the store, since i have to glue them to the glass anyway). Then into the seed cabinet in the library they go.
          interestingly….and your results may vary…the jelly-like stuff that surrounds many seeds is a germination inhibitor that prevents the seed from sprouting until that jelly breaks down…generally at about the time they need to(work with Mother Nature when possible(Axiom#1).
          so I’ll often allow a cuke or tom to ripen totally on the vine and then plant the shriveled husk where i reckon that plant is needed in the spring.
          This works really well with the various storable squashes and pumpkins…..they finish rotting “in the field” at roughly the right time and sprout out on their own.
          Seed Jarring Day is like a holiday around here.
          beer and a splif and usually Steely Dan, Pink Floyd and Yes.
          the dried out bits of paper towel that stick are left, so as not to damage the seed coating.
          This coming Spring, I’ll spend the $$ on actual sterile potting soil if i can…usually, I just use whatever dirt pile is the most composted. …fill the trays/little pots in December and allow the full sun greenhouse to do the sterilising. I’ve had good results for decades with this….
          But I had poor germination this year, so experimentation is in order. Might have been the strange weather….heatwave in Feb, freeze in April, etc….Lots of weirdness with the garden this year….my Merlin Sense says Koyannisqaatsi…
          Further consultation with the Lares is needed.

    2. HotFlash

      Saw a guy on a Toronto shopping street the other day wearing a muscle shirt that read, “I don’t stand for anything, I’m just here for the violence.” Beefy build, lots of tattoos, same for his lady friend. They were both wearing masks and pushing a baby stroller.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > both sides are mostly phantasms being used by the politicians for their own purposes.

      Those picnic tables: In Hong Kong, there would have been a message posted on them them. Like a five-point bulleted list of slogans. The lack of a message makes me think that… either there’s no message or a message isn’t the point. Perhaps all sides are just flexing. Building up their skill sets in the only way possible.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “As forests disappear in India, leopards have learnt to live and prey among human habitats”

    Living with leopards can get complicated and if they turn man-eaters, they are in a class of their own. There was one about a century ago that killed about 125 people but another one from the same era killed about 400 people. People would bolt themselves into their homes at night and the leopard could be heard clawing at the doors and windows trying to force their way in. It was terrifying. Fortunately for a leopard to turn man-eater is quite rare and unnatural-

    1. Kurt Sperry

      We’ve had a recent spate of large cats in the form of cougar taking up residence in our community, They come for the abundant town deer, who have a lot more food here in town than they could ever hope to find in the abundant local wildlands. So far, few or no problems with the big cats other than freaking people out. They seem to hunt at night when it’s quiet and sleep all day when the people are out and about. Cougar are famously shy and extremely unlikely to attack humans.

      1. Wukchumni

        Nobody’s ever been killed by a mountain lion or a black bear in 130 years of Sequoia NP being around, but about 50 years ago, a 5 year old boy with the encouragement of his family was feeding a young buck where the horns go pretty much straight out, and the kid was startled for some reason and pulled back, and the deer gored him and hit an artery.

        1. Wukchumni

          I’ve been within 10 feet of black bears probably a couple dozen times, once on the High Sierra trail I saw one ambling in front of me on the trail, and we passed each other about 5 feet apart as if it was just another hiker going the other way.

      2. HotFlash

        Well, *mostly* cougars don’t kill people. But sometimes they do. I heard from a musician who was doing a workshop there that the lady killed in Banff was a dancer (also doing a workshop) and that she was menstruating.

  18. Matthew Saroff

    Was I the only one who read, “3 Stranded Mariners,” and thought, “Major league baseball is getting medieval about their quarantine protocols?”

    1. Paul Harvey 0swald

      Ha! I come from a different angle. I lived in Micronesia for 2 1/2 years. I haven’t been on that island, but I did get to the state of Yap a few times. The land of stone money! I said it when I was there: When the world goes down, that’s where I want to be. Live off the land. And the world might be going down now. Of course, that particular island is way to small to sustain humans.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Stories about the stones of Yap are excellent, apparently The Kaiser had Pacific empire ambitions and they invaded, they wanted the locals to build roads and such but they wanted to fish, relax, eat tropical fruit instead. So they painted an Iron Cross on the biggest stone, thereby declaring ownership of the money supply, and everybody got to work.

        (There’s an MMT lesson in there somewhere…)

  19. Divadab

    Re: WaPo article on hospitals not buying ventilators , shriek horror, people will die!

    Ventilators are and always have been a heroic last effort to treat very sick covid patients. Early in the pandemic the 2 week survival rate of ventilated patients was about 20% – tho it is higher now that better technique doesn’t result in blowing out the patients’ lungs. Of course the WaPo, dutiful mouthpiece of the profiteering US medical industry, devoted as it is to the most profitable least risk medical treatments, would favor this over preventive health practices and early stage treatments.

    Consider also the cdc’s promotion of very profitable but marginally effective remdesivir. It’s as if profit were the main consideration in public health decisions! This seems a strange way to manage healthcare to me.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Joint US military drills get thumbs down from Thais amid coronavirus fears”

    I thought that I read that a large contingent of Thai soldiers had done duty in Hawaii but when they returned, they also brought back the Coronavirus back with them. You start making special exceptions for people like soldiers and the Coronavirus will easily take advantage of it.

    Had something similar happen in Oz last week. A guy in his 20s arrived in Sydney from Afghanistan, then flew to the Sunshine Coast last Friday, before driving to his home in Toowoomba. He had federal documents giving him an exception because he was associated with a consulate but he has been found to have Coronavirus so now they are tracing the airplane passengers and everybody else he came in contact with.

    Hard questions are being asked about this dubious legal loophole now.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I thought that I read that a large contingent of Thai soldiers had done duty in Hawaii but when they returned, they also brought back the Coronavirus back with them.


  21. Carolinian

    This is pretty good.

    The allegations that Trump was in the pocket of Putin are utterly far-fetched. Indeed, they are based on a 1959 spy-fiction by Richard Condon called The Manchurian Candidate (twice filmed: in 1962 and 2004), where the Kremlin has a spy in the White House. But then, Harding frequently resorts to fiction to make sense of reality. For example, to explain the use of blackmail by the secret services, Harding writes of how a British agent destroyed a sex tape that could expose a Russian cipher clerk, called Tatiana Romanova. The British agent in question is James Bond, and Tatiana Romanova is a fictional character from the 1963 Ian Fleming novel, From Russia With Love. Still, Harding tells us, ‘the plot wasn’t Fleming’s invention. It was espionage reality.’ But, as ever with Harding, he offers little in the way of evidence to support such an assertion.

    Thing is, in the real Cold War much Hollywood and even teevee fare made fun of the Spy vs Spy conflict. James Bond itself was very tongue in cheek. Standards of intellectual sophistication may be declining among the “elite.”

    1. km

      Remember when Luke Harding breathlessly reported spotting tens of thousands of Russian troops, tanks, APCs, etc. at the border of Donbass, all poised to invade poor plucky little helpless Nazi Ukraine?

      Needless to say, Harding didn’t have his camera. Scoop of the century and he couldn’t be bothered to take pictures. Right.

      As to the poor operational secrecy of letting a known Russophobe, one supposedly being constantly monitored by the security services, waltz up to an invasion force and give live reports without being arrested or silenced, well, maybe Harding wore a Groucho Marx mustache and glasses, so he wouldn’t be recognized.

      Still, Harding’s reporting was dutifully rebroadcast as gospel truth there for a while.

  22. Wukchumni

    75 years ago today (Japanese time, that is)

    A ditty about Little Boy and Fat Man
    Two American bombs thought up in the heartland
    Little Boy’s gonna be a uranium scar
    Fat Man debuts from backseat of Bockscar

    Suckin’ on fire-seared cogs that used to be human beings
    Fat Man’s sittin on Japan’s lap
    He’s got his hands on Nagasaki’s knees
    Little Boy say, hey Fat Man lets run off
    Behind Hiroshima and see
    Dribble off those babbling brooks
    Let me do what I please
    And Little Boy say a

    Oh yeah life goes on
    Long after the thrill of livin’ is gone
    Oh yeah life goes on
    Long after the thrill of livin’ is gone they wok on

    Little Boy sits back reflects his thoughts for a moment
    Scratches his head and does his best clean sweep
    Well you know Fat Man we oughta blow up the city
    Fat Man says, baby you aint missing no-thing
    Little Boy say a

    Oh yeah life goes on
    Long after the thrill of livin’ is gone
    Oh yeah life goes on
    Long after the thrill of livin’ is gone

    Gonna let it rock
    Let it roll
    Let the A Bomb come down
    And save my soul
    Hold on to U 235 as long as you can
    Changes comin’ round real soon
    Make us half-life women and men

    A historical ditty about Little Boy and Fat Man
    Two American bombs that went off according to plan

  23. chuck roast

    The Maine Lobster Industry

    Thanks for nothin’. All of the best inshore lobstering fields are spoken for. By that I mean; fish in another guys territory at your peril. You will have your lines cut, boat vandalized and body harmed…usually in that order. So, if a guy wants to fish and his old man hasn’t croaked and informally left the guy his historic fishing grounds, what’s a guy to do?

    The guy gets a boat, a bunch of traps and lots and lots of line because he going way out and fishing in 60, 70, 100 fathoms of water. Unfortunately, whales use these long, deep canyons on their travels…and they travel a lot. The effects on whales are obvious. The Maine bug-men turn a blind eye to these activities because of their deeply ingrained libertarian nature.

    No matter. In fifty years the Gulf of Maine waters will be 75 degrees in the summer and the lobstermen will be gone with the lobsters. But the whales will still be with us. Or more likely with the Canadians.

  24. Keith

    First the Neo-Cons ran to the Democratic Party in order to find a home and defeat Trump. Now, according to Politico, here come the Evangelical Democrats. While Politico states that these Evangelicals are Progressive regarding social issues, how long could that last if a significant part of the party embracing this religious group.

    If memory serves correct, regular black and Hispanic folks opposed same sex marriage during CA’s vote a while back, despite support from black and Hispanic leaders. I wonder how much the leadership and what they say reflect the regular people/voters. I suspect not much, as it is the loud that get the attention, while the “silent majority” maintain a lower profile and “vote against” their interests.

    1. Wukchumni

      I’ve never heard of a lefty behind evang and i’d posit that it could be as rare as a unicorn if not rarer, a collectors item.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        We get these stories periodically. Its the Team Blue’s courtier class’s wet dream. If they have to appeal to the Evangelicals, they don’t have to worry about minorities. The Democrats!

        It was the excuse they used for opposition to positions such as gay marriage or human decency.

  25. Lex

    I’ve developed a deep respect for the “intelligence” of a canine’s sense of smell.

    This came about a few years ago, when I looked over at our schnauzer, comatose napping on the couch,and thought, ‘Aww, that little guy is dying of boredom’. That day, instead of just giving him his midday snack, I devised a game (called ‘Go Find’) of breaking the hard biscuits up into pieces and hiding the bits around the kitchen, that would still be within his reach. He caught into the game tout suite; the playing field now encompasses the whole house and some of yard, weather permitting. The prize for playing is the same number of biscuit pieces, but he has to check every stop on his olfactory map to see if anything is there. I’m constantly hunting as well for new ways to pull one over on him. My victories rarely last long before they too get added to the map. It’s Taller and More Devious Hairless Ape vs. The Nose. Sometime sneaky wins.

    Neither of us is bored any more.

  26. Wukchumni

    The main stream media is really pushing the ‘real estate is going up’ angle, as it’s the only ‘good’ news they can conjure up, but i’ve been reading that getting a HELOC is a trifle hard these days, which tells you how much credence banks have in make believe markets.

    I could see real estate being worth 15 Cents on $, compared to today’s values.

    A house in LA was $100k in 1980, why is the same tired domicile worth 7x as much now?

  27. Mikel

    Re: “Yes, the Coronavirus Is In The Air” (NY Times)

    The article is in the opinion section.

    That is a sign of how much further there is to go….

    1. DJG

      NTG: I’m sure that the obsolete McCaskill is now preparing some biting red-baiting speech and taking lessons in self-defense against rioters from the Second Amendment Couple of the Ivanhoe Knockoff Castle of Saint Louis.

      I would like to articulate here (a global first) that we recognize a U.S. category called, The People Who Won’t Go Away. McCaskill and the Clintons are members 1, 2, and 3. I’ll nominate Newt Gingrich as 4, although I believe that he and Callista are still at the Vatican, representing.

  28. Maritimer

    “Covid-19 vaccine trials worry US minority communities FT”

    “Page not found” Bad link I suspect.
    Also I believe FT has a paywall.

    Nonetheless, here is a link to a NIH site regarding preparations for the coming, or already underway, vaccine propaganda campaign:

    This is a list of the human emotions and factors they will be mixing and matching in pushing a vaccine:

    “Other: Control message Other: Baseline message Other: Personal freedom message Other: Economic freedom message Other: Self-interest message Other: Community interest message Other: Economic benefit message Other: Guilt message Other: Embarrassment message Other: Anger message Other: Trust in science message Other: Not bravery message”

    I particularly note the “Trust in science” option from a scientific organization engaging in and paying for propaganda research. As someone who remembers all the propaganda generated by Government during 9/11, WMD drumbeat and Iraq/Afghanistan attacks among a long list of propaganda deceits of the US government, it looks like just more of the same.

    As someone who will sensibly be doing due diligence on any vaccine, I have become even more diligent on Everything Covid.

  29. UserFriendly

    More lifesaving ventilators are available. Hospitals can’t afford them. WaPo
    from march.

  30. nothing but the truth

    ref the case of the editor who was essentially chased out by the staff for allowing a republican senator to write an op-ed.

    at what point does this become harassment?

    1. Yves Smith

      Coming soon, thanks for asking!

      It is starting to look like the scene in The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada where Tommy Lee Jones has been carrying a corpse all over the Southwest and pours gasoline on it to keep the stench down.

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